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September 17, 2018

US entrepreneur buys Time magazine from Meredith but will ‘not be involved in journalistic decisions’

By Dorothy Musariri

The chief executive of US computing company Salesforce and his wife have bought Time magazine from US media brand Meredith Corporation but will “not be involved in the day-to-day operations or journalistic decisions”.

Marc Benioff, also co-founder and chairman of Salesforce, and his wife Lynne have personally bought the US weekly magazine for $190m (£144m) in cash, in a transaction which is unrelated to the Salesforce business.

As part of the agreement, the Benioffs will not have any day-to-day or  journalistic influence over the magazine’s operations, which will continue to be led by Time’s current executive leadership team.

Meredith president and chief executive Tom Harty said: “We’re pleased to have found such passionate buyers in Marc and Lynne Benioff for the Time brand.

“For over 90 years, Time has been at the forefront of the most significant events and impactful stories that shape our global conversation.

“We know Time will continue to succeed and is in good hands with the Benioffs. We thank the Time team for its ongoing hard work and passionate commitment.”

Meredith acquired Time magazine as part of its buyout of publisher Time Inc for $2.8bn (£2bn) in November last year.

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The company announced in March that Time, Sports Illustrated and Money magazines were up for sale as they were “better suited for success with a new owner” as it plans to focus on a core audience of US women.

The remaining asset sales will be announced in due course, Meredith said.

In a statement, the Benioffs said: “We are honoured to be the caretakers of one of the world’s most important media companies and iconic brands.

“Time has always been a trusted reflection of the state of the world, and reminds us that business is one of the greatest platforms for change.”

Mr Benioff added on Twitter: “The power of Time has always been in its unique storytelling of the people and issues that affect us all and connect us all. A treasure trove of our history and culture.”

Meredith has also entered into a multi-year agreement with the Benioffs to provide services such as consumer marketing, subscription fulfilment, paper purchasing and printing.

Meredith will also be able to include the Time brand in large corporate advertising buys.

Time editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal said the team is “very excited to begin this next chapter in our history”.

“We can’t imagine better stewards for Time than Marc and Lynne Benioff.

“The team is inspired by their commitment to high-quality journalism and by their confidence in the work we have done to transform and expand the brand in new directions.”

In February Meredith sold Time’s UK arm, which publishes about 50 titles including Woman’s Weekly and the now online-only NME, to a London-based private equity firm for an undisclosed sum.

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